Joy to all the world, to ev’ry creature:
God has come to dwell with his creation.
He who knows us – ev’ry fallen feature –
Put an end to our great separation.
Now his presence leads to our rejoicing
For he turns our mourning into dancing.
In the depths of darkness, we are voicing
Victory: the kingdom is advancing.
Joy now grows in souls steeped in the Spirit,
Joy still true when trials stand before us.
Steadfast, nothing e’er can steal or smear it.
It now fuels the everlasting chorus.
On our journeys, this is holy leaven:
We are strengthened by the joy of heaven.
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One funny thing about loneliness is that it makes you, at times, want to avoid people.
I cannot do it all today.
I cannot do it all.
In spite of what I think or say,
I still will fail and fall.
But time will ever slip away
And stress will foster disarray,
And so I cannot help but pray,
For I am very small.
Yet in my weakness, you display
Your holy wherewithal
To keep me on the narrow way.
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Grant me the strength to do what honors you,
And let me ever be
A testament to what your grace can do.
Let ev’ry word I speak be pure and true
So others hear and see
My what, why, when, and how point to a who.
Shape the affections of this heart made new
And make them more like he
Who gave his life to rescue and renew.
God, teach my mind to never misconstrue
What you require of me,
To count the cost and see the journey through.
And let me be found faithful to the two-
Fold sum of your decree,
That love might be my story’s overview.
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Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
Have you ever tried to stop leaning on your own understanding? It isn’t like avoiding other temptations. In many situations, you can avoid giving into temptation by avoiding the object upon which your temptation fixates. When tempted to overeat, you can set limits for yourself and avoid keeping food nearby. When tempted to look at things you know you shouldn’t look at online, you can set up content filters on your devices. But how do you avoid leaning on your own understanding when you can’t avoid your mind or heart?
Friendship isn’t always comfortable. Continue reading
I’ve been painfully aware of my weaknesses lately. Continue reading
James left us with some frightening thoughts.
Pain oft will come, will not relent.
You may well feel your strength is spent.
Pour out to God all your lament.
Lay down all weight. Let go all sin.
Temptation comes. Refocus, then
And when you stumble, rise again.
Pleasures of life will bid you stay.
Stay focused on the narrow way.
Pass through the night to brightest day.
Photo by Linh Nguyen on Unsplash
I watched The Exorcist in high school. While I watched movies often in those days, especially action/adventure movies and comedies, I hadn’t yet explored much in the realm of horror. The movie left an impression on me that remains to this day, though not because the movie itself scared me. No, I remember The Exorcist because, around the viewing of the film, I was told stories of real life events that inspired parts of the story. The story of The Exorcist forced me to recognize the reality of spiritual warfare, the existence of actual demons. The film reminded me that we face a very real, very evil enemy.